What is assessment for learning?
Assessment for learning is best described as a process by which assessment information is used by teachers to adjust their teaching strategies, and by students to adjust their learning strategies.
Assessment, teaching, and learning are all linked as each informs the others.
Assessment is a powerful process that can either optimize or inhibit learning, depending on how it is applied.
Assessment for learning helps teachers gather information to:
- plan and modify teaching and learning programs for individual students, groups of students, and the class as a whole.
- pinpoint students’ strengths so that both teachers and students can build on them.
- identify students’ learning needs in a clear and constructive way so they can be addressed.
- involve parents and families in their children’s learning.
Assessment for learning provides students with information and guidance so they can plan and manage the next steps in their learning.
Allows students to set their learning goals/targets and track their progress.
Assessment for learning uses information to lead from what has been learned to what needs to be learned next.
Describing assessment for learning
Assessment for learning should use a range of approaches. These may include:
- day-to-day activities, such as learning conversations
- a simple mental note taken by the teacher during observation
- student self and peer assessments
- a detailed analysis of a student’s work
- assessment tools, which may be written items, structured interview type questions, or items teachers develop themselves.
What matters most is not so much the form of the assessment, but how the information gathered is used to improve teaching and learning.
Assessment is not a bad thing that students should be worried about. Assessment results are to inform all for their individual educational track – providing guidance on where a student is currently so you can know where to go and how to get there!